Cold dose of reality;Leading Article;Opinion

18th June 1999 at 01:00
It took some courage for the Educational Institute of Scotland leadership to give conference delegates a cold douche of realism about pay and conditions. In eschewing crowd-pleasing abuse of the Millennium Review and the management's intended reforms, the institute's negotiators have prepared the way for a settlement before the end-of-August deadline imposed by the conference.

The other, smaller unions may not yet be living in the real world, or may be cynically hoping to recruit disaffected EIS members, but the majority of teachers are likely to back a deal that puts more money in their pockets. Everyone knows that in other walks of life, longstanding conditions (some of them in effect restrictive practices) have disappeared and teachers cannot expect immunity.

The long drawn out negotiations, punctuated by media spats and election delays, have served to let opinions change and mature. The bases for agreement are now clear although important details still have to be worked out. Assuming that maximum size of composite classes and non-class contact time do not become sticking points, teachers will surely judge that their working lives will not be worse, and they will be paid a bit more.

The employers will have secured valuable flexibility in staffing. The absurdly complex promotion structure will have been simplified. The notion of a teacher as a generic professional rather than, in secondary, as a subject specialist may begin to be accepted, and equality of treatment between primary and secondaries staffs should move a step closer. Most important, the days of treating traditional working practices as sacrosanct will have gone. Tomorrow's pupils should be the beneficiaries.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now